Monday, September 19, 2016

Five Minutes with Emerging Artist Alexa Carson.

I met Alexa Carson at the Bayfront Art Fair and discovered she is a new face in town. We talked about places where artists are showing their work and I asked if I could share a little bit here. She's a painter, illustrator, and designer who gets her inspiration from nature. She strives to capture the beauty of nature and wildlife in her work. She's a graduate of Columbus College of Art and Design with a Bachelor's in Fine Arts and an emphasis on illustration. She and her husband brought a little one along as well and have recently chosen to make the Northland their home.

EN: Why is making art important to you?
Alexa Carson: I have wanted to be an artist since I was a small child. It brings joy to me, and to those who see it (hopefully)! I am blessed to have such a fulfilling and awesome vocation. To be more specific, making the art that I do is important because I have a mission. I want to show people the beauty and value that surrounds us on a daily basis. I receive so much happiness every day when I see a great blue heron wading on the shore, a red-tailed hawk perched on a power line, or a chickadee in a pine tree, bouncing around and declaring its exuberance to the world. I want to share this joy! My hope is that I can encourage people to see, appreciate, and protect this precious abundance of life in their backyards.

EN: You're relatively new to the Twin Ports. Where did you grow up, how did you end up here?
AC: I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. We moved to Duluth when my husband accepted a position with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. It has proven to be the perfect location for a wildlife artist! A few nights ago, a bear visited our yard – events like that don't happen in Columbus!

EN: A lot of your work is in watercolors? It takes a lot of patience to be a watercolorist. What attracted you to this kind of artmaking?
AC: I generally use watercolors for my illustrative work, and acrylics for my fine art paintings. I love watercolors, and even when I use acrylics, I thin the paint down and use it like watercolor. I love the soft, organic nature of the medium, and that it sometimes seems to have a mind of its own. You can't be overbearing – if you overwork it, there's no going back. I appreciate this unforgiving nature, as it forces me to consider each brushstroke with care. Finally, the simplest reason- I think it's beautiful. The translucent layers of color, the shapes the thinned paint makes as it meanders unevenly, the texture of the paper or canvas allowed to have its own say – I love it!

EN: Who are some of your favorite artists?
AC: Robert Bateman is my favorite wildlife artist. The feeling and emotion he evokes in his realism is beyond compare. Also Karl Martens, Jean-Baptiste Monge, Jerry Pinkney and Arthur Rackham.

EN: You primarily paint nature themes. Do you work from photos or do you sometimes do plein air?
AC: I have painted plein air, but don't do it often, and highly respect those artists who do! I generally work from photos (one or many), especially when painting birds. They are all so different, and I want to be as scientifically accurate as possible.

To see more of Alexa's work, visit 
She's eager to show, so I suspect we'll see more of her work in the coming years.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it.

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